Celebrating EMS Week 2020

This week is all about YOU!

As we move into EMS week, every EMS responder in the country has been affected somehow by Covid-19.  Either you are working constantly, or you are in an area that has less Covid and are facing reduced hours because much of the pubic is afraid to go to the hospital for anything else. 

Hang in there, we are EMS STRONG!

With the State of Texas reopening, most public health districts are reporting increased Covid-19 cases.  This inevitably means more work for most of us.  We are including a few tips here that may help in dealing with day to day operations during the pandemic.

Cheap Resource for Airway Protection

Using a cheap clear rain poncho applied to the patient with the hood in the front (backwards) allows you to intubate the patient in a safer manner.  Just pull the hole up past the top of the patients head, and put your hands through the neck opening.  An assistant can help through either arm hole.  This works best with a video scope, especially if the monitor can be separated from the handle and blade.  This allows you to position it outside of the plastic for better visibility.  Leave as many disposables inside the poncho, carefully removing it for quicker clean up and less contamination of your truck.

Low Cost Quick Clean Up for Some of Your Gear

Inexpensive UVC sterilizers can be built for fairly low cost for some of your gear.  In this example a rotomolded case was used, but you can get by with simpler versions.  Insulation is not required, so a cardboard box would work.  You must just make sure that the UV light source produces light in the 258 to 265 range.  Higher and lower wavelength light will not kill viruses like Covid-19.  Another valid concern is that UVC only kills pathogens on the surface.  This only disinfects surfaces that the light actually falls on. It will penetrate a few mm into human skin (not good) so you have to make sure no UVC light is visible when you use this.  It may not permeate a multi-layer mask.  This would work for eye shields, goggles, laryngoscope blades, etc.  Your ambulance HVAC air handler should have UVC in it as well.  

Battelle Units Available For Free Mask Sterilization

Six Battelle sterilization units have been deployed in Texas to provide free PPE sterilization under a contract with the federal government.  The units use Vapor Phase Hydrogen Peroxide (VPHP) to sterilize up to 80,000 mask each day.  The units are deployed in Austin, El Paso, Ft Worth, Houston, Robstown, and San Antonio.  Shipping of masks is free.  For more info click the photo.

Safe Easy Way to Store Your Mask

A safe way to don and doff your N-95 mask, that lets it dry out and protects it involves a cheap disposable food storage container.  Simply hold the container up to your face mask and reach behind your head and pull the elastic straps over the container.  You can reverse the process to don the mask.  Make sure to punch holes in the container lid, so the mask will dry out, before placing the lid on the container. 

Do We Need PPE for Our PPE?

Many options exist to help protect your skin from PPE that you may be required to wear for long periods.  These range from alcohol free liquid skin protectants to foam medical tape to custom designed pad systems.  Take the time to do a online search to find the option that may work best for you...before you need it.

Texas DSHS recently updated the standard policy for the EMS transportation of all patients.  This is the most recent update.

Introducing A New Opportunity

Many of you may be aware that in the past Public Servant Solutions has been a premier provider of live training for EMS, Law Enforcement and the Fire Service.  We have always believed that in this business you sort of have to get your hands dirty once in a while to truly be fully prepared to meet the needs of your stakeholders.  The Covid-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things for most of us.  In order to move forward we will be further developing our EduMedic Learning Platform.  We will be providing some of our classes by Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT).  This allows us to have good interaction with the participants in those classes.  Those classes will be further supported by interactive distributive supplemental material.  We are currently rebuilding some of the material to best meet the requirements of the streaming platform to deliver the best possible training.  The first extended program (40 hour) that we will produce will be our Tactical Paramedic-Certified Preparatory Class.  This  class will  also meet the  approved recertification hours for current TP-C providers.  If you have interest or questions about this class, or any of our other classes drop us a line.

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Related News

Governor Abbott, TDEM Announce Partnership With Local Fire Departments To Expand Testing In Nursing Homes

May 15, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) today announced that local fire departments in Texas are partnering with local public health authorities to provide testing in nursing homes throughout the state. This partnership has been developed and is being implemented through an ongoing collaboration between TDEM, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and the Texas Department of State Health Services. Costs associated with providing these tests are eligible for federal reimbursement.

"This partnership builds upon our efforts to expand COVID-19 testing in the Lone Star State, especially among our most vulnerable Texans," said Governor Abbott. "I thank our local fire departments for continuing to serve their fellow Texans throughout the COVID-19 response. By serving their communities in this new capacity, we will continue to contain the spread of this virus and protect the health and safety of all Texans."

Governor Abbott, HHSC Announce $3 Million For Family And Domestic Violence Prevention Services

May 14, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has received more than $3 million in federal funding to provide shelter and services to survivors of family and domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. This federal funding will support the 78 HHSC-funded local family violence centers that provide survivors with immediate shelter, supportive services, and access to community-based programs. These funds are made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and will be administered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.

"As we respond to COVID-19, the Lone Star State remains committed to supporting survivors of domestic and family violence and keeping Texans safe," said Governor Abbott. "I thank our federal partners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for administering this funding to the state of Texas, and I am grateful to the organizations within HHSC's Family Violence Program that continue to provide Texans with these crucial services."

"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenging obstacles and uncertainty for many survivors of family violence across the state," said Dee Budgewater, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Health, Developmental and Independence Services. "This grant is a significant investment that will connect vulnerable Texans to critical services, shelter, and move them toward a life free of violence."

This new funding will provide direct support to 78 HHSC-funded local family violence centers working with survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant will also support a wide range of supportive services that are instrumental in helping survivors become self-sufficient. These services include temporary 24-hour shelter, counseling, mobile advocacy, telehealth, peer support, rental assistance, and relocation expenses. The funding also assists family violence centers to cover the costs of providing remote services to those in need.

The HHSC Family Violence Program promotes self-sufficiency, safety and long-term independence of adult and child victims of family violence and victims of teen dating violence. Through a network of service providers, the program provides emergency shelter and supportive services to victims and their children, educates the public and provides training and prevention support to various organizations across Texas. In 2019, 71,637 clients were served through by the Family Violence Program.

For more information, visit the Family Violence Program webpage. Texas residents can dial 2-1-1 to learn about HHSC programs and services.

Governor Abbott Extends COVID-19 Disaster Declaration For All Texas Counties

May 12, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation extending his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 13 and extended on April 12, the Disaster Declaration provides the state a number of resources to effectively serve Texans as the Lone Star State continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

"As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, our top priority remains the health and safety of all Texans," said Governor Abbott. "By extending the disaster declaration, we are ensuring that Texas has the resources and capabilities in place to safely and strategically open the state while containing the spread of this virus. As we move forward in our response, I urge all Texans to continue following the health and safety guidelines laid out by the CDC and Texas’ team of medical experts."

View the Governor's proclamation.

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